Johnson City

Science Hill athletic department still waiting on field house approval

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - It's a project the city of Johnson City has been discussing for nearly four years now, but so far no final decision has been made.

Wednesday, Johnson City Commissioners met with the Board of Education to finalize the Science Hill field house project.

The Athletic Department at Science Hill says they're hoping they'll receive an approval within the next two weeks.

The past two or three days they've seen a lot of progress towards their fund raising efforts, but now it's up to city commissioners.

The talks of this new field house at Science Hill began about four years ago during the new stadium construction, but the school's still waiting for an approval.

Athletic Director Keith Turner says he's ready to see a decision made.

"We feel like it's either do or die time, and if it gets approved, I think you're going to see a renewed interest from some other donors," says Turner.

But the question is now, what if the city does not vote for it?

"If it doesn't, then we're looking at having to return a lot of money to previous donors, but hopefully that won't happen," adds Turner.

If approved, the field house will provide new dressing rooms, a meeting room, and new training and equipment rooms.

News 5 asked the mayor about the hold up.

"Anytime that you're talking about a project that involves a significant amount of money, it takes a lot to work through the process," says Van Brocklin.

Mayor Van Brocklin says the city would be looking at a pretty big committment over the next couple decades.

"If the numbers are as they appear right now, it looks like we're going to end up bonding for 20 years, at about $85,000 a year," adds the Mayor.

However, Van Brocklin does say once you add in the money from fund raising and money generated from scoreboard ads and parking, the city may not have to contribute as much.

"You'd be looking at a city committment probably somewhere between $20,000 to $30,000 realistically per year," adds Van Brocklin.

Meanwhile, Athletic Director Keith Turner says he understands the committment the city will have to make but is confident the result will fall in his favor.

"As the athletic director, I'm very tickled that these boards have decided to move forward with this because it's something that's needed," sayd Turner.

Thursday, city commissioners will meet and vote to allow the bid on the field house.

Science Hill should see an approval and contract awarded at the city commissioners meeting on July 17th.

If approved, the project should begin mid-August of this year and, if everything goes as planned, the field house will be ready by August of 2015.

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